Blue Square Bet
Published 3rd August 2012
....welcome a Manchester United XI to The New Lawn on Sunday.
With only standing tickets remaining, Forest Green have already sold around 2,500 tickets and are hoping for their biggest crowd at The New Lawn since achieving their highest all-time attendance of 4,836 for the FA Cup Third Round tie against Championship side Derby County back in January 2009.
The fixture has been organised by England football coach and former United star Gary Neville and Forest Green chairman Dale Vince to raise awareness and proceeds for the newly-launched Sustainability in Sport foundation.
At the same time that David Hockaday’s men will be kicking off tonight in their penultimate pre-season fixture against Wealdstone in Middlesex, some of their likely opponents on Sunday will be facing Scunthorpe in a pre-season friendly in Lincolnshire.
While Manchester United are yet to confirm the squad that will travel to the New Lawn on Sunday, they have confirmed the team to face Scunthorpe would be similar to the team that beat Market Drayton Town 6-2 on Wednesday and included Italian striker Federico Macheda, Portuguese forward Bebe and attacking midfielder Jesse Lingard.
Hockaday said tough games against Wycombe and Swindon, followed by a deserved 1-0 win against Cardiff City, ensured his squad were improving towards the start of the season.
“What better way to measure just how far we’ve come than against the best club in the country? Man Utd are Man Utd and it will be a massive challenge, but believe me we’ll make it a worthwhile run-out for them – it’s going to be a great game on a top playing surface at The New Lawn.
“We have real belief behind us now. Only time will tell how we start on the first day of the season, but it’s been a hugely productive preseason and we’re ahead of where we were this time last year.”
Hockaday would not reveal whether the team that runs out on Sunday against the Manchester United XI will be the same that will feature against Cambridge, but said the competition for places was a nice dilemma to have.
“The new players have all impressed – they now know what I expect of them and how I want to play football. Yes, they are playing for places – every slate has been cleaned, everyone has had the same opportunities. But we’ll need all of those players during the season – it’s a hard league and there are some tough teams who are going to be challenging throughout. There is pressure on us because of the quality we have brought in, but it’s a good pressure – we want to be up there.”
Forest Green Rovers will operate a ‘Park-n-Ride’ for fans coming to Sunday’s final pre-season game against a Manchester United XI – running two buses between the Renishaw car park and The New Lawn stadium from 12noon.